3 Ways to Make Sure Consumers Actually Care about your Content

Our recent Smart Social London event offered attendees a variety of inspiring insights about topics ranging from storytelling to building trust. The event also focused on content, a universal challenge among digital marketers. In a session titled, “Tomorrow’s Customer Experience is Happening Today: What Content for Modern Consumers Looks Like,” our VP of Marketing, Sarah DeRocher Moore, explained three important ways brands can ensure that their content will resonate deeply with their customers.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from Moore’s talk was that when it comes to social content marketers and businesses as a whole must remember one simple, yet challenging, fact: consumers don’t care about the content the c-suite or the stakeholders want to put out. This simple truth can be difficult to put into practice, but doing so is crucial: five billion videos are viewed on YouTube and 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook each day, said Moore, illustrating the stiff competition digital marketers face. In what follows, we’ve summarized Moore’s Smart Social London presentation about consistently publishing content that puts your audience first and helps gain their attention.

Consumers don't care about the content the c-suite or stakeholders want to put out.

 

Focus on Community

The digital gaming world offers excellent insights for marketers. One of the best examples of this occurred last fall when Epic Games launched Fortnight, a co-op survival and adventure game. The game exploded almost instantly for a few important reasons: one is its overall design, as it combines the world-building aspects that made games like Minecraft successful with the adrenaline rush of a fight-to-the-death match in the style of Hunger Games. But, as we know, being clever isn’t enough: Fortnight is the most watched game on YouTube and Twitch because they figured out how to build community.

With Fortnight, the focus is not primarily on the game itself, but on its players, their motivations, and what keeps them coming back. Not only is the game inherently social—users can choose to play with people they know in real life—it’s updated each week with new ways for players to become more powerful, and commerce is woven into the experience. While the game itself is free, players must pay $9.99 for items that will enhance their gaming experience and make it easier to level-up. According to Moore, when we entertain our consumer we create a self-sustaining community that offers constant customer engagement and effortlessly drives brand buzz. It’s an important lesson marketers from every industry can learn from.

Win Hearts and Minds by Inspiring Your Audience

We’ve all seen ample evidence: today’s consumers choose brands based not just on the products and services they provide, but on what the brand believes in and stands for. Standing for something cannot be faked, and it cannot be bought—it has to be genuine and unique, and because of this, it can be difficult for brands to hit the right note. In fact, many brands that are able to authentically communicate their values in a way that resonates with consumers begin from a place of vulnerability, which is something all of us, marketers or not, often shy away from.

Today’s consumers choose brands based not just on the products and services they provide, but on what the brand believes in and stands for.

 

Moore shared an excellent example of a brand beginning in a vulnerable place and digging deep into their values to become stronger, and sharing that transformation and commitment to change with their audience in an authentic way. Last year, makeup brand L’Oreal did research on their product line and found that their foundation matched less than half of the UK population. L’Oreal was committed to changing that statistic because they were committed to inclusion. They increased the number of shades they offer from 15 to 23, and now their foundations match 98% of the UK population. When L’Oreal created content about the change to their product line, they didn’t put their product front and center. Instead, they focused on the stories of the people they hoped to serve:

 

L’Oreal demonstrated that a brand truly committed to inclusion will have to make some hard changes, and they might have to admit to past oversights, but changes like this resonate with audiences, and L’Oreal’s stock performance proves it, as Moore reported.

Include Your Audience in Your Activism

Consumers want brands that have real values, and they want brands to truly embody those values, but, consumers also want to be a part of the process. Brands that can include their audience in their activism can create content that distinguishes them and earns audience attention.

Brands that can include their audience in their activism can create content that distinguishes them and earns audience attention.

 

The first step to including your audience in your activism is, of course, for your brand to become active in a cause. Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia offers an excellent example: In December of last year, the Trump administration tried to reverse national monument protection for two national monuments in Utah—Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase. If the monuments’ status was revoked, millions of acres of land would revert back to the private sector, leaving the land at risk of development. Patagonia’s environmental activism is woven into its heritage, so when they stepped forward, it was genuine. Patagonia began by educating their audience:

 

This video, explains Moore, isn’t just a video—it’s a full VR 360 experience in which Patagonia activates its audience about an important environmental cause and asks for their help. The video also shows that Patagonia took historic action themselves by suing the administration. While the suit is pending, Patagonia has invited their audience to tweet about the issue, to talk to local politicians, and to protest. With this genuine activism, Patagonia made millions of dollars in earned media after their story published in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and more, not to mention hundreds of thousands of tweets.

“We don't need to be worried about great content,” said Moore, if we start with our customers and not ourselves, and we look for ways to draw them into a community, to inspire them, and to activate them. If we can do these things, we'll earn our audience’s attention and engagement.

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.